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Alberto Gabriele


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Alberto Gabriele

  1. 1. “ Cuba: A Services-Centered Survival and Development Plan” The Political Economy of Change in Cuba Alberto Gabriele* UNCTAD, Geneva * The author wishes to thank Dr. Lázaro Peña Castellanos, director of the Centro de Investigaciones de Economía Internacional (CIEI) of the Havana University, and all his colleagues, for the help and support they gave him during a three-months stay in Habana in March-June 2010, when he was on sabbatical leave from UNCTAD.
  2. 2. From tertiarization to sustainable development? <ul><li>TERTIARIZATION AND THE GOODS-SERVICES DYCHOTOMY (1-19) </li></ul><ul><li>THE LAW OF VALUE IN A SOCIALIST ECONOMY (20-23) </li></ul><ul><li>CUBA, CHINA AND VIETNAM: SIMILARITIES AND DIFFERENCES (24-33) </li></ul><ul><li>A KNOWLEDGE-INTENSIVE SERVICES DEVELOPMENT PATH (34-38) </li></ul>
  3. 3. Tertiarization (1) <ul><li>This PPP illustrates the dramatic shift of Cuba's economy towards services </li></ul><ul><li>(largely due to) the structural weakness of virtually all goods-producing sectors </li></ul><ul><li>and proposes some policy guidelines that might contribute to overcome the structural crisis of the island's state socialist model * </li></ul><ul><li>*I will not mention the US embargo. This, of course, does not imply any underestimation of its crippling impact. </li></ul>
  4. 4. Tertiarization (2) <ul><li>Increasing weight of the services macro-sector ( SMS ) </li></ul><ul><li>decreasing weight of the goods macro-sector ( GMS ) </li></ul><ul><li>SMS composed by two sub-macro-sectors </li></ul><ul><li>Infrastructural and other goods production supporting services ( IGPS ), with relatively strong linkages with the GMS </li></ul><ul><li>Directly needs-oriented services ( NDS ), with very weak linkages with the GMS </li></ul>
  5. 5. IGPS <ul><li>Rely for their functioning on the availability of a consistent amount of dedicated physical capital </li></ul><ul><li>Not directly aimed at the satisfaction of human needs </li></ul><ul><li>rather ancillary to the production and transportation of goods </li></ul><ul><li>output has substantially the nature of an intermediate product entering an enlarged macro-production function of goods </li></ul><ul><li>backward and forward linkages are strong </li></ul><ul><li>The performance of IGPS tends to go hand in hand with that of the GMS </li></ul>
  6. 6. NDS <ul><li>Directly aimed at satisfying basic ( health, education , social assistance and security ) and non-basic (such as hotels, restaurant, and other tourism-related activities) needs </li></ul><ul><li>Labor intensive and, in many cases, skills and HK-intensive </li></ul><ul><li>especially education, health, and S&T </li></ul><ul><li>Yet, also tourism has increasingly being attracting some of the brightest and most entrepreneurial young professionals and skilled workers </li></ul><ul><li>Not physical capital-intensive </li></ul><ul><li>particularly professional services such as health and education </li></ul><ul><li>knowledge –intensive </li></ul><ul><li>and direct human contact essential conditions for service provision </li></ul><ul><li>comparatively little need for any material support </li></ul><ul><li>NDS are the most de-linked from the sphere of material goods production. </li></ul>
  7. 7. Cuba’s GDP in 2000 <ul><li>Services were 3/4 of total GDP </li></ul><ul><li>IGPS was the largest sub-sector </li></ul><ul><li>43,5% of total GDP, almost 60% of services GDP </li></ul><ul><li>DNS was smaller </li></ul><ul><li>30% of total GDP, 40% of services GDP </li></ul><ul><li>GMS was only 1/4 of total GDP </li></ul><ul><li>Non-sugar manufacturing 15.4%, sugar industry 2.2%, Agr and fishing 6.6% </li></ul>
  8. 8. 2 structural trends unfold in the 2000s <ul><li>The relative weight of services in GDP further increases </li></ul><ul><li>around 80% in 2005 -2009 </li></ul><ul><li>GMS keeps shrinking </li></ul><ul><li>about 19% in 2005-2009* </li></ul><ul><li>manufacturing stays almost the same but agr falls to 3.9% and sugar collapses to 0.4% </li></ul><ul><li>DNS grows, pulled by booming Health </li></ul><ul><li>By 2009, DNS 41% of GDP, 52% of SMS </li></ul><ul><li>Health from 7.7% in 2000 to 15.8% in 2009** </li></ul><ul><li>Culture and sports also double to 4.3% </li></ul><ul><li>IGPS falls along with GMS </li></ul><ul><li>By 2009 only 38.4% of GDP, 48% of SMS </li></ul><ul><li>* Cuban statistics report also « import tariffs», at about 1% of GDP </li></ul><ul><li>** The magnitude of the growth of the health secto is inflated by the new evaluation methodology adopted in the 2000s </li></ul>
  9. 9. The goods-services dichotomy (1) <ul><li>GMS most integrated with the world economy </li></ul><ul><li>Cuba’s small size </li></ul><ul><li>pronounced import dependency </li></ul><ul><li>process of value creation cannot be ultimately divorced form the structure of relative prices prevailing in international markets </li></ul><ul><li>notwithstanding the ubiquitous distortions in the domestic arena </li></ul>
  10. 10. The goods-services dichotomy (2) <ul><li>In other services , especially DNSs , the price structure along the whole value chain is mainly determined by non-market factors </li></ul><ul><li>discretionary power of Cuban planning authorities </li></ul><ul><li>largely – albeit not exclusively – extra-economic motivations which shape the intergovernmental agreements with Venezuela and the other countries who buy the bulk of Cuba’s professional services exports </li></ul><ul><li>The new macroeconomic protagonism of professional services was predicated on an ad hoc price structure </li></ul><ul><li>set up originally mainly for social and political, rather than economic goals </li></ul>
  11. 11. The goods-services dichotomy (3) <ul><li>One of the dimensions of the lack of intersectoral integration of Cuba’s economy </li></ul><ul><li>a very high degree of segmentation between the goods- producing and the services macro-sectors </li></ul><ul><li>and thus of their respective price structures </li></ul>
  12. 12. The goods-services dichotomy (4) <ul><li>Sectors exhibit diverging performance trends </li></ul><ul><li>DNSs grow fast </li></ul><ul><li>obtain more resources </li></ul><ul><li>less dependent from the dysfunctional bulk of the domestic economy </li></ul><ul><li>reported growth rates magnified by the application of the new GDP evaluation methodology </li></ul><ul><li>The GMS languishes as </li></ul><ul><li>is more dependent, linked with the bulk of the domestic economy </li></ul>
  13. 13. Professional Services (PS) exports <ul><li>Cuba’s external trade balance is now primarily dependent on services activities ( medical and other PS) which are among the least integrated with the rest of the economy </li></ul><ul><li>divergences in the mechanisms of price formation along the value chain and inter-sectoral linkages </li></ul><ul><li>central resources allocation priorities </li></ul><ul><li>Yet, in practice, some services exports show ex post a significant degree of international competitiveness </li></ul>
  14. 14. An only apparent paradox <ul><li>In fact, a necessary consequence of the skewed and poorly integrated structure of Cuba's economy </li></ul><ul><li>Internally integrated GMS in shambles, cannot possibly be internationally competitive. </li></ul><ul><li>lack of investment </li></ul><ul><li>systematic non-respect of the law of value </li></ul><ul><li>Conversely, scarce resources have been allocated for decades on a non-market basis to prioritized social services </li></ul><ul><li>blessed by a relative isolation from the rest of the economy, as </li></ul><ul><li>intensive in HK , but not in physical K </li></ul><ul><li>not very dependent on the supply of inputs from the GMS </li></ul><ul><li>The most potentially tradable components of these intrinsically social services - health and other PS - eventually achieved international competitiveness </li></ul>
  15. 15. Exports of PS: pluses <ul><li>Allowed to release almost overnight the crucial external constraint which structurally limits Cuba’s economic development </li></ul><ul><li>So far, shifted towards exports part of the supply potential created by huge past and present human capital investments , which would have been largely underutilized otherwise </li></ul><ul><li>Made possible to achieve some GDP growth in spite of the negative contribution of domestic economic policies </li></ul><ul><li>at least until the banking crisis, which led to the present economic downturn </li></ul><ul><li>The strongest positive factor in an otherwise grim picture that prevents the economy form nose-diving </li></ul>
  16. 16. Exports of PS: minuses (1) <ul><li>Exports of PS in their present form probably already peaked </li></ul><ul><li>Doctors and other professionals are not micro-conductors, cellular phones or Ipods </li></ul><ul><li>require many years of highly specialized training </li></ul><ul><li>their productivity can hardly improve </li></ul><ul><li>This is a clear, specific example of a general economic principle </li></ul><ul><li>Productivity can improve markedly in the domains where people apply ever-increasing knowledge to manipulate and transform nature , thereby creating more and more goods of ever-increasing quality </li></ul><ul><li>In the area of specialized human capital formation such rapid productivity gains cannot be achieved </li></ul><ul><li>due to the very nature of learning </li></ul><ul><li>and to the heavy dependence of teaching from reciprocal human interaction , which is itself very human capital-intensive </li></ul>
  17. 17. Exports of PS: minuses (2) <ul><li>PS have few forward economy and backward linkages with goods producing sectors and also with other services sectors, and their multiplier effect is correspondently limited </li></ul><ul><li>Due to the specific characteristics of PS and the structural de-integration of Cuba's economy, the specialist knowledge embodied in PS human capital has been transmitted to the GMS only to a very limited extent </li></ul><ul><li>positive exceptions there are the pioneering advances in the areas of biotechnology and in few niches in the pharmaceutical and medical equipment industry </li></ul><ul><li>This limitation does not allow Cuba to reap the potential benefits </li></ul><ul><li>virtuous intra- and inter-sectoral spillovers </li></ul><ul><li>the ultimate conversion of knowledge into industry-wide technical progress </li></ul><ul><li>enhanced systemic productivity and innovativeness also in the sphere of the material production of goods </li></ul>
  18. 18. Exports of PS:sustainable? <ul><li>Present PS export boom cannot be the basis for further, sustainable development </li></ul><ul><li>unless accompanied by a series of complementary “industrial” policies aimed at further transforming, enriching and diversifying this and other services sectors </li></ul>
  19. 19. Overcoming the infantile disease <ul><li>A structural reform of the very state socialism model should not be indefinitely postponed </li></ul><ul><li>Radical departures from the traditional state socialism model are required </li></ul><ul><li>The guiding theoretical principle , should be the rational and realistic recognition of the need for any present-day economy - to respect the “law of value” </li></ul><ul><li>with respect both to domestic and external equilibria </li></ul><ul><li>a fortiori in a small, peripheral, and underdeveloped socialist economy </li></ul>
  20. 20. The “law of value” in a socialist economy <ul><li>Notwithstanding their profound differences </li></ul><ul><li>Both socialism and capitalism are socio-economic formations belonging to a mode of production based on the production and exchange of commodities (and services ) </li></ul><ul><li>both in socialism and in capitalism the production and exchange of commodities take place in the productive* sphere of the economy </li></ul><ul><li>generating a surplus that can be partly** earmarked to the free or subsidized provision of social services according to non-market criteria. </li></ul><ul><li>Thus, in both socio-economic formations the relative prices of different types of products must broadly reflect the underlying structure of production costs </li></ul><ul><li>* Adapting to modern socialist and capitalist economies a Marxian concept originally elaborated exclusively to analyze the capitalist mode of production, the term &quot;productive&quot; refers precisely to the part of the economy that produces a surplus. </li></ul><ul><li>** Part of the surplus must be invested </li></ul><ul><li>*** Or goods. </li></ul>
  21. 21. 2 key lessons from one century of socialist economic history (1) <ul><li>The socialist principle of distribution according to work must prevail </li></ul><ul><li>abandoning </li></ul><ul><li>any residual of irrational egalitarianism </li></ul><ul><li>unrealistic attempts to implement communist relations of production and exchange on the backdrop of a severely underdeveloped productive basis </li></ul>
  22. 22. 2 key lessons from one century of socialist economic history (2) <ul><li>The State’s planning capabilities are limited </li></ul><ul><li>In order to achieve development outcomes superior to those stemming from the spontaneous and anarchic interplay of market forces </li></ul><ul><li>They should be parsimoniously focused on a pragmatic and selective form of strategic planning </li></ul>
  23. 23. As time passes by, it is more and more urgent <ul><li>To rationalize the presently over-extended sphere of non-market production and distribution of both goods and services </li></ul><ul><li>This task cannot be accomplished without a dramatic expansion of the scope and role of markets and of monetary-commercial relations </li></ul><ul><li>and therefore of relative price and incentive structures </li></ul><ul><li>In turn, any meaningful market-oriented reform could not possibly work without </li></ul><ul><li>overcoming the double currency mess </li></ul><ul><li>restore the meaningfulness of two key prices in particular </li></ul><ul><li>foreign exchange rate </li></ul><ul><li>real wage </li></ul>
  24. 24. Cuba, China, and Vietnam: similarities (1) <ul><li>Some of the structural market-oriented changes in Cuba will necessarily have to resemble those implemented in China and Vietnam </li></ul><ul><li>Market- and price-based regulation shall substitute central planning as the main guiding principle of resources allocation in the short/medium term </li></ul><ul><li>the role of planning must correspondently become less ubiquitous and ambitious </li></ul><ul><li>evolving into a market-compatible , largely price-based array of policy tools </li></ul><ul><li>The main focus of planning is to steer strategically the overall process of development as smoothly as possible, in a long-run perspective </li></ul>
  25. 25. Cuba, China, and Vietnam: similarities (2) <ul><li>Grasp the big, enliven the small </li></ul><ul><li>The Cuban State should limit its more direct forms of intervention in the productive* sphere to a few strategic s ectors ( incl large-scale tourism) </li></ul><ul><li>These sectors are the only ones where the State should retain full or controlling ownership rights </li></ul><ul><li>Individual and small-scale activities** shall be liberalized and allowed to function autonomously, in an essentially market-regulated framework dominated by monetary-commercial relations </li></ul><ul><li>* In the non-productive sphere, the state can maintain its presence </li></ul><ul><li>** I n the primary, secondary, and tertiary sectors, including agriculture, fishing, manufacturing, trading, tourism, and other traditional services activities </li></ul>
  26. 26. Cuba, China, and Vietnam: differences (1) <ul><li>History, geography and path-dependency matter, and the same blueprint cannot be applied mechanically everywhere </li></ul><ul><li>The international scenario is different from the one which prevailed in the last quarter of the XXth century </li></ul><ul><li>the financial and economic malaise affecting the major capitalist countries </li></ul><ul><li>the very ascent of China and of the other so-called BRICs </li></ul><ul><li>the new correlation of forces in Latin America </li></ul><ul><li>present both challenges and opportunities for Cuba’s international trade and cooperation relations. </li></ul>
  27. 27. Cuba, China, and Vietnam: differences (2) <ul><li>Many crucial structural differences between present-day Cuba, on one hand, and China and Vietnam in the late 1970s- early 1980s, on the other hand </li></ul><ul><li>Size </li></ul><ul><li>Wages </li></ul><ul><li>Respective roles of services and manufacturing </li></ul>
  28. 28. Size <ul><li>China, Vietnam are large </li></ul><ul><li>(potential) internal market, economies of scale,.. </li></ul><ul><li>Even under the state socialist model </li></ul><ul><li>before market-oriented reforms </li></ul><ul><li>already advanced enough in the path of quasi-autarchic, self-centered industrialization and economic diversification to be able to produce (inefficiently) a vast array of industrial products </li></ul><ul><li>according to a relatively consistent self-centred price system </li></ul><ul><li>Cuba is small </li></ul><ul><li>USSR-funded industrialization largely failed due to (inter alia) </li></ul><ul><li>wrong sectoral priorities , little diversification </li></ul><ul><li>inconsistent, distorted price structure </li></ul><ul><li>Small size </li></ul>
  29. 29. Human Development (HD) and wages <ul><li>Most Cubans are affected by deep poverty in terms of lack of access to virtually any consumption good or service beyond the realm of a very austere definition of subsistence </li></ul><ul><li>Yet, Cuba’s HD is higher than that of China and Vietnam </li></ul><ul><li>A fortiori, it is incomparably higher than the level of human development of the two Asian countries at the time of the inception of market-oriented reforms . </li></ul><ul><li>Cuba’s relatively high level HD is crucially predicated on the sustainability of its public services . Due to </li></ul><ul><li>the very nature of these services sectors </li></ul><ul><li>Cuba’s specific comparative advantage built after decades of extraordinary needs-focused policy priorities in the allocation of scarce national resources </li></ul><ul><li>the cost of delivering rather good health, education, and other basic services in Cuba is relatively low </li></ul><ul><li>Nevertheless, it’s not a free lunch </li></ul><ul><li>The cost of labor in Cuba must embody the onus of funding basic public services , and therefore it is too high to make the island an attractive location to set up labor-intensive, low-tech manufactures </li></ul><ul><li>Applies to domestic and foreign investors, public-owned (controlled) enterprises and private firms. </li></ul>
  30. 30. Services and manufacturing <ul><li>China, Vietnam </li></ul><ul><li>most population were and are still rural </li></ul><ul><li>rapid shift from agriculture to industry, manufacturing </li></ul><ul><li>little weight of services </li></ul><ul><li>Cuba </li></ul><ul><li>most population urban </li></ul><ul><li>manufacturing small, shrinking </li></ul><ul><li>extraordinary and increasing weight of services </li></ul>
  31. 31. Export-led massive industrialization? <ul><li>Cannot be an option for Cuba </li></ul><ul><li>in most manufacturing sectors, Cuba’s endowment of both physical and (to a lesser extent) human capital would be too scarce to allow for potential competitiveness in international markets </li></ul><ul><li>Cuba’s share of manufacturing in GDP or in employment will never approach the levels of China and Vietnam </li></ul>
  32. 32. 2 areas of manufacturing potential (i) <ul><li>A large area of low- and medium-tech essential sectors </li></ul><ul><li>among them agro-industry and basic non-tradable manufactures </li></ul><ul><li>mostly supplied by domestic producers in virtually all semi-industrialized countries </li></ul><ul><li>In Cuba, exceptionally under-developed , and hence import-dependent </li></ul><ul><li>In a medium term scenario Cuba might </li></ul><ul><li>achieve minimum acceptable efficiency and productivity improvements </li></ul><ul><li>sufficient to make it viable a limited form of import-substituting re-industrialization </li></ul>
  33. 33. 2 areas of manufacturing potential (ii) <ul><li>A small niche of knowledge-intensive sub-sectors </li></ul><ul><li>high , specialized human capital intensity </li></ul><ul><li>low physical capital intensity </li></ul><ul><li>Cuba already successfully produces biotechnology, drugs, and medical equipment* </li></ul><ul><li>can expand and enhance its ability to manufacture and export these and other knowledge-intensive goods </li></ul><ul><li>maintain and selectively strengthen the traditional priority accorded to these sectors in the allocation of public investment </li></ul><ul><li>reform elite public enterprises to endow them with more autonomy and market-orientation** </li></ul><ul><li>promote various forms of international cooperation (such as FDI, joint ventures, and intergovernmental international agreements) </li></ul><ul><li>* In 2009 medicines and pharmaceutical products export grew strongly i and their share of total goods exports rose to 20% from 9% in 2008. </li></ul><ul><li>**Elite Cuban service and manufacturing SOEs operating in health-related sub-sectors already enjoy a higher level of autonomy than most other enterprises. </li></ul>
  34. 34. A knowledge-intensive services development path <ul><li>The Health cluster and possibly other knowledge-intensive services </li></ul><ul><li>i.e. some specialized R&D and consulting services niches </li></ul><ul><li>might hold a true potential for becoming the engine for a sustainable development drive for the Cuban economy as a whole </li></ul><ul><li>m ost of the remaining growth potential in agriculture and industry is of an import-substituting nature </li></ul><ul><li>m anufacturing ancillary and complementary </li></ul><ul><li>* The health cluster includes a goods-producing component manufacturing vaccines, drugs, biotechnology products and medical equipment, as well as diverse health-related services such as health tourism and public health planning consultancies </li></ul><ul><li>. </li></ul>
  35. 35. The role of the State is crucial <ul><li>in the development of knowledge-intensive services* </li></ul><ul><li>Cuba’s comparative advantage can only be maintained and enhanced if an adequate amount of public resources continues to be earmarked to these sectors </li></ul><ul><li>* As opposed to non-strategic sectors </li></ul>
  36. 36. Necessary conditions… <ul><li>Enterprise autonomy </li></ul><ul><li>Incentives </li></ul><ul><li>Flexibilize monopolistic and vertical forms of control on specific services value chains </li></ul><ul><li>Managed competition </li></ul><ul><li>New forms of creative entrepreneurship </li></ul><ul><li>including FDI and public-private partnerships </li></ul>
  37. 37. … will not be sufficient unless <ul><li>The planning mechanism is modernized and fine-tuned </li></ul><ul><li>utilizing both price- and non price-based policy tools </li></ul>
  38. 38. A key strategic objective <ul><li>Exploit the potential synergies and economies of scale and scope that can arise from the joint pursue of two different and valuable goals </li></ul><ul><li>Direct, non-market satisfaction of basic needs </li></ul><ul><li>Generation of foreign exchange through the production of tradable services </li></ul><ul><li>An intrinsic tension between these two goals is inevitable </li></ul><ul><li>risk of over-penalizing basic service functions </li></ul><ul><li>transforming health and related sectors in a purely money-making machine </li></ul><ul><li>Yet, alternatives are few and the challenge is worth taking </li></ul>